Chris Masters tell stories through family history

A scene from the ABC TV series The Years That Made Us.
A scene from the ABC TV series The Years That Made Us. Contributed by ABC TV publicity website

WALKLEY and Logie award-winning journalist Chris Masters delves into his family history in The Years That Made Us.

The former Four Corners reporter presents the events he believes shaped the nation in the 1920s and '30s in his three-part documentary series.

"The first episode is really about the 1920s post-war period, the second is about the Great Depression and third is about the prelude to the second Great War," Masters told The Guide.

"It was such a grim period that didn't instantly lend itself to those uplifting television moments. I found the best way to make it engaging was to tell the story through family history.

"Australians are more interested in the lives of their parents and grandparents rather than prime ministers."

The Years That Made Us - ABC1 - Sunday at 9.25pm

Masters explores the life of his great Uncle James "Judy" Masters, a First World War veteran who worked as a coal miner and was one of the country's top soccer players, and the coming of age of his mother, a respected writer, during such a tumultuous time.

"They were humble, working-class people who are representative of all families," he said.

"When I compare her (my mum's) life to the lives of my kids, it's a story that is well worth telling.

"This era when they had nothing is when they gave the most and delivered the most for the future."

Masters believes the struggles of everyday people and families are what gave Australia its national identity, rather than the battle of Gallipoli.

"There was this war meant to end all wars that was going to deliver them a freedom and then it was just more and more struggle (during the Great Depression)," he said.

"Then, of course, they had to face up to the next war. It was a very tough period. I think this battlefront at home was more influential in the shaping of the nation than our part in either of those wars.

"Australians, like Americans, were measured and sensible in the way they deal with this hardship. We didn't resort to the political extremes of communism or fascism."

Topics:  abc, documentary, four corners, the guide



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